Nobel in Africa

17 Oct 2022 | By Professor Amanda Weltman
Nobel medal
17 Oct 2022 | By Professor Amanda Weltman

Every year around this time, the Physics community waits in excitement and anticipation for the latest announcement of who has won the most famous prize in Physics - The Nobel prize. These announcements often lead to great discussion and debate around what it means to win such a prize, how the prizes are a reflection of society, the value of individual genius vs collaborative group work and of course the discovery for which the prize was awarded. This year, The Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded equally to Alain Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger for their work in quantum physics experiments, specifically ""for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science". 

As part of the excitement around the Nobel prize, the Nobel in Africa series was born as a STIAS Initiative in partnership with Stellenbosch University, under the auspices of the Nobel Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences with funding from the Knut & Alice Wallenberg Foundation. The Nobel foundation has been hosting symposia around the Nobel Prizes since 1965, but this is the first time that an external organisation is hosting, and the High Energy Physics, Cosmology & Astrophysics Theory (HEPCAT) Group at UCT are delighted to play a role as hosts for the UCT event happening on 20 October. 

The Nobel in Africa Symposium Series is an initiative that will bring together experts in Africa and the world for discussions about science and the advancement of research in the areas of physics, chemistry, economic sciences and physiology and medicine. The series aims to provide leading scientists in Africa with the opportunity to interact with the international community on our own soil. 

 The series will have a public outreach component by providing platforms for public lectures and critical engagements with universities around the Western Cape. The High Energy Physics, Cosmology & Astrophysics Theory (HEPCAT) Group of the University of Cape Town, led by the South African Research Chair in Physical Cosmology, Professor Amanda Weltman, will be hosting the UCT Nobel in Africa seminar by Professor Viatcheslav Mukhanov entitled “The Quantum Universe” on Thursday 20 October 2022. Prof. Mukhanov is a Full Professor of Physics and Head of the Astroparticle Division at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, Germany. He serves as the Scientific Director of the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, and he is an Editorial Member of the Journal of High Energy Physics. In his Outreach Seminar, Prof Mukhanov will discuss the recent progress in cosmology, namely, the theoretical predictions made back to the 80's and how they were confirmed with the Cosmic Microwave Background fluctuations measurements during the last 20 years. 

Cosmology is the study of the universe on the largest scales, with the hope of answering big questions about the universe; how the universe began, what the universe is made of, and ultimately what is its fate? 

 The seminar will be held on Thursday, 20 October 2002 from 1-2pm in Room M320 of the Mathematics Building, University Avenue, Upper Campus, UCT.